Running Against Cholangiocarcinoma in the 2018 Boston Marathon

Apr 11, 2018 | Events

By Karen Dempsey, TargetCancer Foundation Advocacy Council Member

Though researchers classify cholangiocarcinoma as a rare cancer, we know the reach of the disease is long. With every patient diagnosed, countless friends, family members, colleagues and classmates are impacted. This year’s TargetCancer Foundation Boston Marathon team is emblematic of that impact. All three team members are running to honor someone lost to cholangiocarcinoma.


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“I ran the Boston Marathon in 2014, the year after the bombing, but that was a little different. I ran for the City,” says Colin Carey (pictured above, with his father Brian). This time, the run is much more personal.

Colin’s father Brian was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma in September 2016. Colin, his mother Kathleen—a nurse—and siblings Kaitlin, Ryan, and Brendan pulled together to face the harsh realities of Brian’s prognosis and the difficult decisions regarding his care. In search of a tangible challenge amidst an uncontrollable situation, Colin contacted TargetCancer Foundation about a spot on its 2017 marathon team, and the Careys attended the Foundation’s gala that November. “I discovered TargetCancer Foundation through the disease, but the relationship was born out of the Marathon,” he says. Though he wouldn’t run the marathon until this year, TargetCancer proved an important resource as the family researched treatment options.

They experienced the devastation of Brian’s loss last April.

“My father passed away seven months to the day after his diagnosis.”

Colin and his wife Colleen had welcomed twin daughters, Emily and Grace, the previous summer in time to meet their fun-loving grandfather. Colin describes that period as experiencing “the revolving door of life and death.” The girls, his earliest training partners as he pushed them in their double jogging stroller, are now 21 months old and will be on course with Colleen cheering on Marathon Monday.

“Running Boston for TargetCancer Foundation has been a way to commemorate my dad, and also try to do some good. For people who thought highly of my father and may be looking for ways to appease their own grief, supporting my run has become a way turn a negative into a positive. They reach out to me to donate, to tell me where they’ll be watching on Marathon Monday … I’ll have people scattered along the route who knew him—and who will be looking out for me.”



Steve LoCicero (pictured above, with the Reid family) met Kevin Reid in middle school, when he was in eighth grade and Kevin in seventh.

“He was an easygoing, friendly kid, who enjoyed sports, music and family and who was just fun to be around” Steve remembers. The friendship stuck, and their larger friend group from Saugus, Mass., grew closer over the years, seeing each other through life’s milestones: middle and high school, college and adulthood, marriage and parenthood.

That support proved essential when Kevin was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma in 2001, and through the difficult months of his treatment. When Kevin died in 2002, he was only 37 years old. He left his wife Sandy and their four young children— Samantha, Alexandra, Mikayla, and Tyler. —who were the same age as Steve and his wife Rae-Ann’s children, Aaron, Elizabeth, and Jared.

Though Steve and his family now live on the West Coast, they are in touch with the Reids almost daily. The Saugus friends showed up big for Alex and Samantha when they ran the Boston Marathon to support TargetCancer in 2015 and again in 2016. And Steve decided to raise the ante—and stoke a friendly competition with Alex—by committing to the 2018 run and vowing to surpass her fundraising success, if not her time.

Steve’s fundraising has been hugely successful in no small part because of the Reid family and the larger Saugus crew. Among his supporters he also counts coworkers of Alex and Sandy, (teachers in Topsfield and Middleton), his and Rae-Ann’s Qualcomm colleagues, and the company’s generous contributions.

A number of them will take their places along the marathon route to cheer Steve on in honor of the friend whose memory ties so many lives together.



Julianna Hanlon (pictured above, with her husband Torin) first learned of the TargetCancer Foundation as a Summer Associate at the Boston Office of Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo PC. She heard of Mintz’s involvement in planning TargetCancer’s annual Gala, and soon thereafter learned about Paul Poth, TargetCancer’s Founder, who worked at the firm before his death from cholangiocarcinoma in 2009. The firm sponsors the gala and remains one of the Foundation’s staunchest supporters.

The cholangiocarcinoma connection became stronger when Julianna learned that close friends of hers and of her husband, Torin, had also lost a loved one to the disease. Dave Webster died in 2002. His family and friends have since channeled their grief into supporting TargetCancer in myriad ways, including a pair of Saugus fundraising walks in Dave’s name that each attracted hundreds of participants and together raised close to $70,000.

When Julianna attended the gala, she found herself moved by the energy in a room that included family, friends, and colleagues. She also joined the Saugus families in cheering on the younger David Webster’s fiancée Lauren Sanford as she trained for the 2017 TargetCancer team in honor of the father-in-law she never had the chance to meet.

These experiences led Julianna to submit her own application for the 2018 TargetCancer team. Though she is an accomplished athlete, the marathon will be her first. Her personal connections to families affected by rare cancer keep her motivated on her long runs at Breakheart Reservation.

“The whole family was so excited and supportive when I decided to run,” Julianna says. “I’m very thankful for the generosity of my colleagues and friends in helping with my fundraising. The Websters are my inspiration. They’ve made me feel like part of their community, and have become my family away from home.”

Colin, Steve and Julianna will be running the Boston Marathon- 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boston- on April 16. You can support their run by visiting the TargetCancer Foundation marathon page. Our sincere thanks to Karen Dempsey for volunteering her time to interview the team and write this profile.